I was addicted to endurance cardio and moderate intensity cardio routines for years. After desperately trying to lose 20 pounds for 4 years, I changed my cardio routine to include Interval training workouts and that was when the fat started melting off. Then I added circuit weight training and changed my eating habits and next thing I knew, 20 pounds of fat melted off me in 3 months!
How to do interval training workouts
You shouldn’t have to do more than 20 minutes of interval training workouts. If you are able to continue to 45 minutes or an hour, then you weren’t doing your workout with a high enough intensity. Your perceived level of exertion needs to be at least an 8 on a scale of 1-10. To learn more about high intensity interval training workouts, click HERE.
One thing I do is I am constantly changing up my interval training workouts so my body won’t adapt. That way, i’m able to see constant progress. Here is my list of preferred ways to do interval training workouts:
- Jump rope – I do a variation but mostly high knees
- Sprinting outdoors
- Bodyweight interval circuits
- Treadmill running
How long should you do the actual intervals?
First of all, there are no “best” interval training workouts.
Besides, we want to change up our routines so our bodies won’t adapt and so we won’t get bored. The best interval training workouts are the ones that change every 3-4 weeks.
Interval training workouts recommendations have ranged from 15 seconds to 5 minutes (these are known as aerobic intervals). So let’s take a look at each of the interval training workouts that are recommended and all those in between.
8 seconds on, 12 seconds off
This is the duration used by the Australian researchers in the now famous “intervals vs. cardio” study from 2007. The results of these interval training workouts are found that intervals helped subjects lose belly fat, but cardio didn’t. Unfortunately, it is extremely difficult to replicate 8 seconds on, 12 seconds off using cardio equipment in your gym.
The great thing about 15 second interval training workouts is that you’ll be able to work at a very high rate (almost near your maximum power output), as long as you get adequate recovery between work intervals. The downside is that it is very difficult to do 15 second intervals on machines, because it takes a long time to “build up” and “bring down” the machine settings to the correct speed.
If you decide to use these specific kinds of short, high interval training workouts, you should do so only if you already have an above average level of fitness. Your rest interval should be at least 15 seconds long, and can be as long as 60 seconds. The longer you rest, the harder you will be able to exercise in each interval.
20 seconds on, 10 seconds off
This method is known as the Tabata protocol, after the Japanese scientist that published a study on this routine. This is one of the more well-know interval training workouts. It is very demanding (obviously) and can be intimidating.
Clearly, the pro’s with this method (as well as the 15 second intervals) is you’ll get your workout done faster (provided you do the same number of intervals as any other workout). It would be very difficult to perform this type of interval training on a machine, due to the time lag as you increase or decrease the settings.
I tend to use a lot of 30 second interval training workouts. Beginners will rest up to 90 seconds between intervals, while advanced fitness levels will rest 30-60 seconds. The longer (relative) rest allows you to work harder in each successive interval (i.e. you’ll almost be able to match your performance in the first interval with each following interval). Short rest intervals (as in the Tabata protocol) will lead to a dramatic drop-off in performance with each interval. You can easily do the 30-second intervals on any machine.
This is what I first started doing when I realized they worked AWESOME for fat loss. My absolute favorite workout is 30 second high intensity, 30 seconds rest x 20. Sure they don’t sound as exotic as Tabatas, but they work!
These interval training workouts are proven for fat loss, in addition to being effective for many team sports (such as hockey, soccer, basketball, and rugby). I have used 45 second interval training workouts extensively in both areas of training. Not only will these tax your muscles, they will also tax your will to complete each interval (if done at the right intensity). Use 45-90 seconds of recovery between intervals. Do 3-6 intervals per workout. Your fitness and fat loss will skyrocket.
60 second intervals
Similar to the 45 second interval training workouts in benefits and toughness. Use 60-120 seconds of recovery between each.
120 second intervals
These are now officially aerobic intervals, and can be used for both fat loss and improving aerobic capacity for sports and running. These types of interval training workouts are a great way to achieve two fitness goals at once. Exercise for 2 minutes and then recover for 2 minutes. Repeat 6 times. These workouts take longer (obviously), but can have a role in changing your body and improving your performance.
3, 4, or 5 minute aerobic intervals
These have been used in a lot of strength-endurance studies, and also in a lot of soccer-training protocols. Same strategy as with the two minute intervals. This really increases your workout time, so these are only used with serious endurance athletes.
My favorite interval training workouts are the ones that are 30-45 seconds. But I do have to change them up to keep my body constantly progressing.
If you are a beginner, don’t be intimidated! Interval training workouts method is all based on perceived level of exertion and only you know how you feel. Find something that you like and as you get into better shape, just started changing it up.
Trust me, once you start seeing the changes in how you look and feel, you’ll become more motivated, too!
Stay tuned as I start to share my specific workouts with you. I will be adding new content so bookmark this page (or subscribe to our newsletter). If you are trying to lose weight, you know that diet is very important. I am tracking my food online if you want to see what I’m eating, just click HERE.
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